Audrey Austin

Audrey Austin
Proud to be a small town indie author

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The first two in a series of Franky & Erma Tales by Maggie Kirton

Featured author on Small Town Authors this week is Maggie Kirton of Callander, Ontario, Canada.

Below are the first two in a series of Franky & Erma Tales.

Franky & Erma Tales 

Maggie Kirton 


franky's dog 

She was too old and too weak now to take the time to walk to the barn where the memory of the fresh scent of hay and straw could fill her nostrils with living. Kaliope only napped beside the front door now. 

Franky laughed when he saw her feet twitch in her dream state. Her usual flopped ears perked themselves and her lips tightened as she let out a semi-snarl. 

"When she was little I couldn't stop her from eating cow shit and now I can't keep her awake!"  

"She's too old now Franky," Erma giggled. "Did you know that she comes from a litter of twelve?" 

"Didn't know that, Erma," I answered, unwilling to take her moment of story-telling away from her.  

The story never changed. A litter of twelve. Hand fed with a baby bottle from her youngest child. Slept at the foot of the bed. And ate cow shit. 

Erma smiled at the conclusion of her story and naturally I had to ask the final question: "How did you stop her from eating the cow shit?" 

And she would answer with a huge laugh that made her husband join in: "We didn't stop her, a cow did! Right Franky?" 

And then it was Franky's turn: "Yup. Cow with a new calf kicked her right between the eyes one day and she never did it again after that!" 

"That's a cool story, Erma!" I answered, and Erma said, "I know!" 

But now the dog was sixteen years old, and even in her old age, she still brought joy to Franky's farm. I knew that Kaliope will be the last dog to live on that farm, as long as Franky and Erma are running it.  

I looked into Erma's eyes when she was looking at her sleeping dog, and I saw something there. Something I'm afraid to mention, except I can say that Erma knew that Kaliope was too old and too weak now to take the time to walk to the barn, where the memory of the fresh scent of hay and straw could fill her nostrils with living. Kaliope only napped beside the front door now...where her tired legs kept her close to those she loved.



A Franky Tale 

Franky sat at the table with Erma as he spoke. Hubby and Josh had just finished helping him with the chores, and I had just finished helping Erma with some house cleaning. The morning had moved along quickly and lunch was being served.  

Franky's eyes took on a suspicious glimmer as he began to speak: 

"Oh yeah...without a doubt! And I remember when the streets were just mud. The horses shit everywhere and it just turned into really healthy mud!" His belly bounced against the table as he continued... "Yup! There's some good fertilizer under all that cement!" 

"And when everything was frozen, that's when it was easy to walk. Nobody minded walking in the snow as much as the mud. I don't think the horses minded it as much either. There wasn't a bridge across the river then either. People would come in with their boats or canoes and then go back the same way. In the winter they just walked across the ice or they had dogsleds. There were some good lookin' dogs in those days. Lots of them were part wolf though that's for sure. Hey! Did I tell you about the old trapper? No?  Ahhhh... now that's a story, eh Erma?" 

Erma nodded as her dainty fingers played delicately with the edge of the table cloth.  Franky inhaled and with a large sigh, shook his head as he began to tell his story. 

"This guy would trap all year. His name was Jean-Luc or something. A Frenchman. He came into town from across the river only twice a year, bringing his stash with him. He trapped beaver and martin and wolf. Lots of wolf. He hated wolves. Didn't matter when or where or what he was doing...if he spotted a wolf, he would shot it right there on the spot. Lots of the wolf skins that people used in those days came from him I guess." Franky roared with laughter. "My dad had a few from him too!" 

"So, anyway, here's Jean-Luc, always coming from the same little bay in the river, twice a year, bringing in his pelts to the trade store and leaving with flour and sugar and salt and other supplies. He always bought a new trap too, if I remember right...right Erma?" 

Erma nodded again.  

"This went on for years and years and then one winter, he didn't show up. Nobody bothered to go look for him since nobody really knew where he was trapping anyway. They all figured that once the weather cleared up, he would show up. But he never did. When Spring came, a couple of the men went out to see if they could find him and you wouldn't believe what they found! Right Erma?" 

Erma smiled. 

"They canoed across the river to the little bay where he was supposed to come out, and there on the shore, they found his rifle and his leather bag. They found his snowshoes too...with his feet still in them and chewed off right to the top of his boots. That's all they found. Just his feet inside his boots and strapped to his snowshoes, laying there beside the shore, a five minute walk across the snow to town. Imagine that! Right Erma?" 

"And they found all his wolf furs too, Franky" 

"Yup...they sure did. And they figure it was the wolves that got him in the end. They figure that the wolves stalked him right to the shore and when he made camp for the night, that's when they got him." 

Erma giggled, "Payback's a bitch, right Franky?" 


Maggie Kirton    

Callander, Ontario, Canada -- the home of author, Maggie Kirton.



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